We decided to write this document to clarify the current situation regarding waxes, regulations, and the issue of fluorinated products. Unfortunately there is a lot of confusion among people and it is right to understand the situation well. For the 2020/2021 season there will be a major regulatory change in the ski wax market. REACH, a regulation of the European Union concerning chemicals, establishes that from 4 July 2020, products containing PFOA in quantities exceeding 25 parts per billion will no longer be able to be placed on the market. This date has already been established for some years and therefore all companies have had time to adapt and study products suitable for the regulation.
At this link https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/reg/2017/1000/oj/ita you find this regulation and you can download it in the language you prefer. PFOA is an acid contained in minimal part in the "old" fluorinated waxes, we are talking about a concentration of few parts per million. We clarify that European legislation was not created for waxes; the quantity of this acid contained in the products of all ski wax companies, considering the total volume produced annually, is practically irrelevant. We can estimate it at the value of a few grams. European legislation was necessary due to the presence of this acid in numerous products used on a large scale and sold / used daily: anti-adherent cookware, paper plates, paper coatings in general, fabrics, carpets, coatings for food containers, technical clothing (e.g. goretex), leathers, fire-fighting foams,…
Until a few months ago, it seemed that for waxes we had to opt for fluorinated products a little less performing, more than anything else in duration, with shorter molecular chains, also called C6. In reality, we are now able to purify most of the products that were used for waxes from the PFOA, so we are able to maintain the same performance as the "old" products, but without the presence of PFOA, or in any case remaining under 25 parts per billion.
In the new RODE products, the PFOA FREE symbol indicates precisely the absence of this acid or in any case a presence less than the limit imposed by the European Union. Now all the Rode products present in the 2020/2021 catalog, some presented at ISPO 2020, comply with the European regulation, while we remember that in the famous kick waxes in the catalog, including the Tline, fluorine was never present in their composition.
It should be emphasized that the regulation refers to the production and sale of substances or products containing PFOA above 25 parts per billion, exclusively in the European Union. The use of these products is not prohibited! The will of the European Union is to ensure that within a few years these substances or products, no longer being manufactured, disappear from circulation. Anyone who owns the "old" fluorinated waxes can use them freely, inside or outside the European Union. Currently outside of Europe these products can still be manufactured and / or sold. However, efforts are being made to bring this European legislation worldwide, even if we do not know when it will happen.
As for the ban announced by FIS on the use of fluorinated products starting from the 2020/2021 season, the situation is currently not clear to anyone. Unfortunately, the FIS made a decision in a way, in our opinion, hasty and without knowing the problems of this decision. It only gave a year / a season of time to adjust, but for companies this period is too short, both for ski wax producers and ski producers (fluorocarbons are used as an additive in the polyethylene of ski bases), but also for all national teams, clubs, etc ... that have many of these products at home and should throw them away, creating even more damage to the environment. Furthermore, there is still no verified, safe, fast and feasible test that can measure whether a ski has been prepared with fluorocarbons. To date, after the November announcement of the FIS decision, we have not yet received any news from the FIS. We do not have a written regulation indicating what the rules will be, we do not know what the test will be used, we do not know what types of controls there will be and in which races, we do not know if there will be a tolerance in the fluorine content, what will be the penalty,…. Almost all ski wax companies have written and signed together documents addressed to FIS asking for explanations and information, and have been asked to extend the entry into force of their decision, to allow everyone to adapt and study alternative solutions. , but also to ensure fair and fought-out competitions between teams and athletes in the coming years. By this we do not mean that we are against the abolition of fluorine; we are aware of the need we have to go towards a cleaner, more ecological and responsible future, and we can be in favor of banning certain substances, but in due time. Unfortunately in some countries, for example Norway, fluorine is spoken of as the evil of the whole world, and it seems that the problem is exclusively with waxes; sometimes certain beliefs and thoughts result from poor information. As regards the FIS, there will be meetings in the coming months which should clarify the situation; in any case, everyone's feeling is that effectively this possible ban on the use of fluorine will be postponed, and there will be time to adapt. We will see what will happen next and if there is a ban, we should understand when it will come into force.
We will keep you posted.
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